Whilst or while – which one is correct?

Whilst or while

When we talk or write, we often want to say that two things are happening at the same time. For this, we use special words. Two such words are “whilst” and “while.” They both mean the same thing, but people use them differently depending on where they are from or what they prefer. Let’s explore these two words to understand which one you might want to use.

What Do They Mean?

“Whilst” and “while” both are used to talk about time. They tell us about something that is happening at the same time as something else. For example, you might say, “I read a book while I was waiting for the bus.” Or you could say, “I listened to music whilst doing my homework.”

When to use “while”

While” is very common and used by everyone, especially in American English. It’s a friendly word that fits into any kind of talking or writing, whether you are with friends or writing for school or work. Most people in the United States and many other places use “while” more than “whilst.”

When to use “whilst”

“Whilst” is more formal and a bit old-fashioned. It is often used in British English. So, if you are in the UK or reading a British book, you might see “whilst” used more often. Some people think “whilst” sounds more elegant or serious.

Examples to understand better

  • “I listen to music while I work.” (This is simple and commonly used.)
  • “She enjoys tea whilst reading her book.” (This sounds a bit more formal and is more likely to be heard in the UK.)

Is One More Formal Than the Other?

Some people think that “whilst” sounds a bit more formal or old-fashioned than “while”. Because of this, you might see “whilst” in writing more often, especially in formal writing or in books. But in everyday talking, most people just use “while”, even in the UK.

Can They Be Used in Different Ways?

Yes, they can! Both “whilst” and “while” can also be used to mean “although” or “despite the fact that”. For example, “Whilst I understand your point, I disagree.” This means the same as “While I understand your point, I disagree.” In this use, they are completely interchangeable too.

For more on this topic, SEE, WATCH, LOOK: Differences and Uses in English.

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